Futurism logo

Best Isaac Asimov Books

With over 500 to his name, the best Isaac Asimov books are a must read for all sci-fi fans.

By Natasha SydorPublished 8 years ago 8 min read

Often known to say that he did not fear computers, Isaac Asimov was truly fearful of the lack of computers. Isaac Asimov's imagination is synonymous with prophetic visions of the future. On science, he said, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I've found it!), but 'That's funny...'" At one point, Isaac Asimov served as the Vice President of the MENSA organization. He referred to his colleagues in MENSA International as "brain proud" and quite passionately raved about their IQs. A genius among geniuses, Isaac Asimov's contribution to science fiction literature stands alongside those of his contemporaries, and his books surely rival the best Arthur C. Clarke books and the greatest works of Robert Heinlein. Whether I, Robot or I, Asimov – the author's memoir – is your book of choice, celebrate this iconic author with the best Isaac Asimov books.

The only way to know the man behind the iconic science fiction novels is to read his autobiography. I, Asimov: A Memoir by Isaac Asimov is incredibly honest and open; readers receive a well-rounded sense of who this man was. As the synopsis of the book claims, readers will be exposed to Asimov’s “wide-ranging thoughts and sharp-eyed observations on everything from religion to politics, love and divorce, friendship and Hollywood, fame and mortality.” There is also an in depth look at the others who worked with Asimov to craft the science fiction genre—such as John W. Campbell, Harlan Ellison, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Lester del Rey, Robert Silverberg, and others.

Asimov's The Foundation series is actually a group of seven of the best Isaac Asimov books, written between 1942 and 1993. In 1966, the first three books together won the Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. The series is about a mathematician named Hari Seldon who develops psychohistory, a method of predicting the future. In order to save the world he lives in, Seldon creates a foundation of artisans and engineers to perverse and expand on humanity’s knowledge, making them a foundation for a new galactic empire after his world collapses. While there has been a lot of talk to produce a film over the years, HBO required the rights to the series in 2014.

Part of the Galactic Empire series, this Isaac Asimov book follows a university student named Biron Farrell who finds a radiation bomb planted in his dorm room, making him a marked man. Meanwhile, light years away, Farrell's father has been murdered, leading Farrel to investigate who has been targeting his family. The book finds him wrestling with rebellion, political interest, and espionage. While the Galactic Empire trilogy stands on its own, Asimov did incorporate them into his Foundation series.

Fantastic Voyage is a 1966 Isaac Asimov book about a group of scientists who shrink to a microscopic size and enter a man’s carotid artery in order to destroy a blood clot in his brain. The team is strapped for time already because they can only stay microscopic for a short amount of time; but the voyage becomes trickier when the scientists must face off against white blood cells and antibodies that will attack any intruders as well as possible sabotage. Fantastic Voyage is based on a film of the same name, even though the book was published before the film was released.

The Tyrannosaurus Prescription and 100 Other Essays is a series of essays that explore science fiction, space adventures, discoveries, and rediscoveries. The Science section consists of 13 pieces on planets as well as atomic nuclei and dinosaurs. SciQuest features 20 of the author’s best columns for SciQuest, which focus on the struggles of scientists such as Michael Faraday, Ernest Rutherford, and many others. The book also has two personal autobiographical essays that were co-written with Asimov’s wife, Janet, which give insight into the question: who was Isaac Asimov?

Nightfall was originally a short story written by Asimov in 1941, that was voted the best short science fiction story of all time in 1964 by the Science Fiction Writers of America. In 1990, Asimov teamed up with Robert Silverberg to turn the short story into one of the best Isaac Asimov books. The novel follows a group of people who live on a planet that is constantly illuminated in light; until, for the first time, their planet becomes shrouded in darkness. The 2000 film, Pitch Black, is based on the same themes of the novel, but there has not been a true film adaptation of Nightfall...yet.

Nemesis is set in a time when space travel has recently been discovered and quickly perfected. A space colony named Rotor is moved to a newly discovered red dwarf planet called Nemesis, where Rotor orbits the moon Erythro. What makes Erythro unique is that it contains bacterial life that possesses a form of consciousness and telepathy. Nemesis is one of the few novels written by Asimov that is not part of a series, although some readers believe it may have a connection with the Foundation series.

While there are several plot lines in The Gods Themselves, the main story revolves around a group of aliens who live in a parallel universe with physical laws unlike our own. While comparing the differences in our physical laws, they discover that our own Earth matter provides energy for their dying universe, allowing them to resurrect it; yet at the same time, depleting ours. In a letter written by Asimov in 1982, he said The Gods Themselves is his favorite science fiction novel.

The End of Eternity is about an organization made up of men from different eras of human history. What makes these men unique is that they live outside of time. Their mission is to change the reality of humanity through time by making small, minimal changes to key events; all in the name of "making history better." When it was published in 1955, The New York Times reviewer Villiers Gerson said the novel “has suspense on every page” and “exhibits in every chapter the plot twists for which the author is famous.” Author Charles Stross stated that his 2009 novella Palimpsest is essentially a rewrite of the great The End of Eternity.

I, Robot is the first and best Isaac Asimov book in the Robot series, which was published in 1950. It is a collection of nine previously published short stories that are woven together as a 21st-century interview with robopsychologist, Dr. Susan Calvin. This short story collection is followed by four full novels. In 2004, a loose adaptation of I, Robot was brought to the big screen and starred Will Smith, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell, Shia LaBeouf, and Bridget Moynihan as Dr. Susan Calvin. The film only holds a mediocre 58 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but the book series spawned successful.

Pebble in the Sky, Asimov's first novel, was written in 1947 under the draft name Grow Old With Me. Critic reviews were contradictory, but the novel was still deemed, "magnificent and one of the most adult and realistic works of the master." It is a tried-and-tested story of a man, who find's himself one thousand years into the future from mid-XX century. There, the Earth is a peripheral zone of the Trantor Galactic Empire, a slowly dying world full of radiation that makes it almost uninhabitable.

Do you want to read an outstanding science fiction and detective combination? Then The Caves of Steel, written in 1954, is the Isaac Asimov book for you. In the book, the worlds closest to Earth – around 50 in total – have been colonized, known as the Spacer Worlds. These worlds are plentiful and rich, with a low population density and robots who take over most of the grunt work. On the other hand, Earth is dying and is suffering from overpopulation. The "caves of steel" are in reference to vast city complexes within a densely populated New York City, where millions of humans live. The book asks the question: what happens when a man is murdered, and you don't know if the murderer is a human or a robot?

Few people know about this momentous collection of short stories written by Isaac Asimov; and it is by far one of the best Isaac Asimov books. Nine Tomorrows acquaints us with nine unique sketches of the near future, created in the late 50s, during the peak of Asimov's productive literary activity. Stories such as "The Last Question" and "All the Troubles of the World" are of particular historical and philosophical interest to the modern day reader. Isaac Asimov even dabbles in the genre of comedy from time to time in these stories. It is a true diamond for fans of Isaac Asimov's science fiction genius.

Asimov's Mysteries is a brilliant collection of stories similar in style to The Caves of Steel, but written in the early 50s to late 60s time period. It combines and represents an innovative literary form of science, mystery, and detective fiction, and reflects the experiments of Asimov in this field, featuring Wendell Urth, a master extra-terrologist, and protagonist in four of Asimov's stories.

Compared to earlier separate works, such as I, Robot, written in 1950, The Complete Robot is the most complete collection of the stories about robots ever made by the author, including 31 stories. If you are looking for something comprehensive in this direction, then The Complete Robot is uniquely right for you.

The Robots of Dawn was written in 1983, during a time when Asimov was already recognized as a genius in the world of science fiction. Asimov delights readers with sophisticated social, psychological, and adventurous plot lines, which spin around "murder of a robot" in one of the central worlds of the Spacers, called Aurora. An interesting fact is that Asimov dedicated his book to Marvin Lee Minsky and Joseph Frederick Engelberger, the original inventors of robotics theory and practice.

science fictionliteraturelistvirtuosos

About the Creator

Natasha Sydor

brand strategy @ prime video and amazon freevee

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.